It is helpful to have a good understanding of what is expected in judging sessions ahead of time. Please note that there is some variations between regions in judging. Here are some variations we know of:
1) Core Values Poster may or may not be required
2) Robot Design Executive Summary may or may not be required
3) All judging is done in rooms with only one team at a time, or multiple teams in same room, or judging is in some other space (hallways, pits). Be flexible.
4) A limited number of coaches/spectators allowed (in the back of the room) or no one is allowed of open to everyone (in an auditorium)
5) Call-backs for the top performing teams in each category or no call-backs.
6) Coaches allowed to carry in large equipment or not allowed to help in any way.
7) Team Information Sheets may or may not be required
Be sure to check with your local tournament director for what is required in your region.
Image Credit: Razorback International Open
RDES: Some regions require a 4-minute Robot Design Executive Summary (RDES). This is a summary of your robot. It does not have to be in written form, but must communicate information about your robot, strategy, innovation, and programming. Refer to the RDES documentation here for details.
Some regions will require you to do a full or partial demonstration of your robot run. Others may not even have an FLL table in the room. This requirement varies greatly by region and is something you should ask about in advance.
Be prepared to also show your programming. Either bring a printout or share your code on a laptop.
Q&A: Judges have at least 6 minutes to ask you questions. These will be based on the Robot Design Rubric.
Tips for preparing:
1) Know the key highlights of your robot/code
2) Be able to answer questions about the robot design, strategy & programming
3) Make sure all team member have some understanding of the robot and code
Project Presentation: You will get 5 minutes to present your project. The timing starts as soon as you enter the room, so keep your set-up simple. There is no guarantee that there will be electric plugs, or projectors. Doing a live presentation is also a requirement, so simply having a judge watch a video for the entire 5 minutes will not work. If you do want to incorporate some technology, be sure you understand that the set-up time is part of your team’s 5 minute presentation time. Adults will not be allowed to help set up. Refer to the Project Presentation lessons on EV3Lessons.com for some tips.
Q&A: Judges will have about 5 minutes to ask you questions. These can be questions about how you did the research project, your problem, and your solution. Questions will be based on the Research Project Rubric. If they missed any information during the presentation, this is a chance for them to clarify.
Tips for preparing:
1) Memorize your skit/presentation as much as possible
2) Minimize time spent in setup
3) Try to cover all aspects of the rubric in your 5 minute presentation
Core Values Poster: A Core Values Poster is required in some regions, but optional in others. If you are asked to make one, you will be given 2 mins to present your poster. The poster is supposed to help guide your conversations. Instructions for making the poster can be found here.
Teamwork Activity: You will also be asked to do a team work activity for 5 minutes. Sometimes the judges read you the instructions. Sometimes the team will be asked to read the instructions themselves. There is nothing you need to bring for this. You will not be told the activity in advance. The judges are looking to see how well your team works together. When you leave your Core Values judging, do not talk about the activity with other teams. It is meant to be a surprise. If you want to try a teamwork activity similar to one you might see at a tournament, visit this page.
Q&A: Judges will have about 5 minutes to ask you questions. These can be questions about how you completed the teamwork activity, about your poster or anything about your season. Here, judges are trying to learn more about how you display FIRST LEGO League Core Values at the competition and outside. Refer to the Core Values Rubric.
Tips for preparing:
1) Wear team t-shirts/hats or something else that identifies you as a team
2) Know the FIRST LEGO League Core Values
3) Be respectful of your team members throughout the competition. Your behavior in the pit, the robot game table, and all judging sessions matter when it comes to Core Values.